Another Perspective of Gratitude
Here it is again! Happy Thanksgiving! When we were in first grade, we were taught that this is a day to give thanks for everything you have in your life. Spend the day eating and relaxing with your family. As I'm getting older, I'm realizing how much I love this holiday. There's no commercial hype, no stress of buying gifts. It's just a time to be thankful and spend it with the ones you love.
Of course, when we think of being thankful, we think of our family, our friends, our health, our shelter. But what about everything else?
I'm thankful that I'm stressed out during my graduate school application process. It means I'm blessed enough to be able to continue my education to better my future.
I'm thankful for my professor who is giving me a slightly tough time this semester. She's reminding me that college work is challenging and I need to work hard.
I'm thankful for frozen yogurt. No explanation necessary.
I'm thankful that I need to pay for college this year. I'm learning the value of a dollar.
I'm thankful for my calloused feet and bruised knees. It means I'm physically able to play sports.
I'm thankful for my failures. I've learned to grow from them. I'm learned what I like and don't like.
I'm thankful for wifi. Without it, this little blog wouldn't exist.
I'm thankful for my crappy fourth grade teacher. I learned what NOT to do (if I'm ever actually a teacher).
I'm thankful for my alarm clock. I would be late a lot without it.
I'm thankful for that time I got cut from a travel softball team. There are always going to be people out there who are better than you.
I'm thankful for my toothbrush. I wouldn't have many friends without it. Definitely no boyfriend, either.
I'm thankful for for those lectures my mom gives. I've learned some stuff through all the ramblings.
And of course, I'm thankful for all the wonderful people in my life. Whether a coach, a teacher, a parent, sibling, friend, roommate, boyfriend, classmate, or co-worker, I'm thankful for you. You have molded me into the person I am today.
Today, be thankful. Think about every privilege you have in your life and truly appreciate it. Happy Thanksgiving!
Today was the first day word was actually mentioned about moving out of our house. I've known it's been coming, but today was the first day it's been talked about as something that is actually happening in the foreseeable future. Whoa.
For those of you that need a back story, I've lived with some of my best friends for the last two and a half years in a fantastic house right across the street from campus. For two years, it was me and three of my best girlfriends. Living with Courtney, Meghan, and Brielle is something I truly cherish and wouldn't change the opportunity for anything. Brielle graduated in four years (who does that?) and so two boys moved in, which has been awesome in its own funny and wildly entertaining ways.
In the past, I have freaked, like totally freaked, at any sense of oncoming change. It's Saturday night at 1:15. I worked until 11:30 and decided to not go out. Here I am. My heart is starting to race a little at the thought of leaving my "home" so here I sit, typing on my laptop once again.
To start, I need to distinguish "home" from "home home". This is something we've come up with over the years. Our house, 41 Williamsburg, is "home". "Home" is where our best friends are who have quickly turned into family. "Home" is where we have built memories, laughed together, cried together, fought together. "Home home" is where we go to over the holidays. It feels weird to call it our "parents' house" because that gives the sense that we're established adults who don't go home; they go to their parents' place. No way. Not yet. "Home home" is where Mommy and Daddy are. It's where we grew up. It's comfort. But, "home", "home" is this place.
I'm trying a new thing. As I think about it a little more, my heart beats just a little faster knowing I have to learn how to acknowledge and accept change. We all know I'm not the best at this, but who is? I'm looking at the positives...but really looking at them. Moving out of this place is going to be hard, like really hard. I'm dreading the moment I close the front door for the last time.
So, let's look at the positives. Let's think about all the beautiful, fantastic, hysterical memories we've made from this place. Here we go.
Brielle, remember when you and I were the only ones home getting ready to go out blasting Beyonce? You danced on the kitchen counter.
Remember when we all watched Paranormal Activity and then Nick hid in my closet? For some reason I threw a tuna can at him.
Remember when we did No-Shave November and practically clogged the drain on December 1st?
Remember all the times we used each other's closets as our own?
Remember that time I made you guys "apple cider" and put in chocolate wine?
Remember that time the cops came and we talked to him outside wearing our prom dresses?
And when piggy-backs on New Years' Eve seemed appropriate?
Remember when we thought (or maybe just I did) that there was a cat in our walls so we investigated the attic?
Remember that time we played to "roommate game"?
Remember when we played Buzz and made number 8 something we probably shouldn't have?
Remember that time we made really great togas?
Remember our Christmas card?
Remember all those times that the four of us have somehow managed to accidentally match our outfits?
Remember when we painted our chalkboard wall?
Remember our first "formal"?
Remember when we posed like animals at our Christmas party?
And don't forget our super awesome Christmas tree.
And the day you guys threw me my 21st birthday party? That was the best day of my life.
Remember that time Courtney did this...
And then there's this...
And remember when we thought taking pictures like this was normal?
And you can't forget about Brielle...
And say "hello" to Joho...
We would even advertise "41" anywhere we could...
Enough for now. I think you get the picture. Over the years, we've gained quite a few memories. Sometimes I wish I could go back and re-live it all over again. Other times I just remind myself how thankful I am to have these memories with such incredible people. The last two and a half years have gone faster than I could have ever imagined and the idea of leaving in only a little over a month from now kind of freaks the crap out of me. It will happen. Days will pass and so will weeks. The day will come when I close the door for the last time, but I will not be closing the door on my "home", my family, my memories.
Take a look at yourself now. Compare that self to yourself five years ago. Hopefully, some things have changed.
They say if you leave college the same way you went in, you did something wrong.
This concept shouldn't stop with college, though. Every day, we are learning, growing, changing. We learn everything from dealing with spilled milk to dealing with the death of a loved one. Where ever this learning occurs does not matter; what matters is that we are learning.
Thinking about my 18 year old self seems like both forever ago and just yesterday. But, when I think about everything that's happened in those five years, it is quite a handful. Yeah, I've always been a happy-go-lucky girl who has great friends and plays softball, but I have definitely grown up. Five years ago, the thought of going away to school was slightly terrifying. Now, I'm considering graduate school even further away. Five years ago, I could confidently navigate myself around a 20 mile radius in North Jersey. Now, I'm mastering the Turnpike and Garden State Parkway (though I still get lost sometimes). Five years ago, I was blissfully unaware of the diversity that comes from meeting new people and going new places. Now, the people and places that have come into my life have influenced me and inspired me to be who I am today.
So maybe now, I'm able to cut the cord from Mommy and Daddy, drive up and down the good old state of New Jersey, and have diversity in my back pocket. But that's only the surface.
I invite (and encourage) you to think about how you got to be who you are today. Hopefully, the reasons are mostly good. Some are bound to be bad, and that's okay.
Think about the people that make you happy day after day. Keep them around.
Think about the places that inspire you to travel and learn. Go there again and try new places too.
Think about the days you inspired someone else. Do it again. And again. And again.
Think about it all.
Be thankful for these experiences. They've shaped you into being "you".
Five years may seem like a long time. But when you're not thinking about it as a matter of time, but as a matter of experiences, it puts it into a whole different perspective.
Taking A Second Swing At Senior Year
Well, here we go again. Senior Year. Round Two. Maybe if I didn't change my major seventeen times, I would be onto Graduate School or working somewhere as a teacher. But, let's be serious. I don't really want to leave Rowan, my home for the last four years of my life.
It really does sound cliche. How could a college be a "home"? How are my roommates my family? How are my co-workers by family? How has joining a few clubs taught more than I could EVER have imagined learning in all of my classes combined? Somehow, it all has come together in such a beautiful way and I am reminded each and every day of just how lucky I am to be in my shoes.
Sometimes I get weirdly reflective at things. It doesn't happen much. Once a month, at most. But it is outstanding to have to imagine my life at another university, like Muhlenberg College - a college in a small town in Pennsylvania. Where would I be? I definitely would have not met some of the most fantastic, inspirational people that I've met here in good old Glassboro. I wouldn't have met the love of my life. I definitely wouldn't be planning to go to Grad School next year as a Graduate Assistant in a Recreation Center.
My mom likes to say that life is all about geography and timing. She couldn't have been more right.
I'm about to start my 9th semester of classes here at Rowan University in just a few days. Thinking about schoolwork again kind of makes me want to run for the hills. But my stress doesn't come from my academics. I'm basically a genius and have perfected the art of bullcrapping my way through lots of things, so I've managed to maintain a respectable GPA. (Don't worry Mom and Dad - I do study and work hard.) My stress lies in everything else I do outside of the classroom.
REC Center Sport Club Supervisor
NIRSA Student State Representative
PROS Member/Orientation Assistant
Community Service Member
IM Special Events Coordinator
Club Softball Member
Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor
I LOVE everything I do and I am confident when I say that I would be NO WHERE near where I am if I didn't do each one of these things. But every once in a while, I lose my mind. My planner book has ink almost completely covering it, and I am overwhelmed. Usually it deals with a small hyperventilating session to my poor boyfriend who has gotten very good at rubbing my back and saying "If anyone can do it, you can." But sometimes, I can't help it. And as much as I'm looking forward to this upcoming semester and all of the joys, learning experiences, new friends, professional development, and laughter associated with it, I can't help but be a little nervous that I'm going to fill my plate a little too full...once again.
It also doesn't make it any better that my two best friends for the last four years are no longer by my side. Brielle, who I'm still calling my roommate, has graduated and moved to Jacksonville, FL for a year long program. Ryan, my boyfriend and best friend for four years also graduated and is currently looking for a job. These two suckers graduated in four years. Come on. And I'm here. I'm ready to grow up and move on and have Rowan in my back pocket with all of the experiences I've gained over the years. The emotions are all very confusing. I'm not even one to have or show many emotions. But, feeling stuck, feeling overwhelmed, feeling excited, feeling loved, feeling lonely, feeling blessed.
I've always been a glass-half-full-kind-of-girl and I plan to stick to that forever. So, I remind myself every day how TRULY BLESSED I am and how the future holds fantastic things for me.